Pros: Sportier and more affordable than the Quattroporte; prestigious Maserati nameplate

Cons: On-sale date and the pricing not yet announced

What's New: All-new model; first-ever diesel in a Maserati

Overview:

Among the vehicles debuting at the upcoming Auto China show in Shanghai is the Maserati Ghibli, the latest sports sedan from the prestigious Italian automaker. Maserati resurrected the Ghibli name -- which refers to a hot desert wind -- from a few previous models, including a successful sports car from the 1960s. This latest Ghibli may be a 4-door sedan rather than a sleek 2-seater, but Maserati suggests it will be a capable performer, too.

In fact, the company says the Ghibli will not only more be affordable than the larger Quattroporte sedan, but also sportier. Maserati has not yet provided detailed specifications for the Ghibli, but the firm did announce a choice of two engines, both turbocharged V6s. Also, photos released ahead of the debut show the Ghibli's muscular proportions: short overhangs, prominent fenders and a low-slung nose with aggressive headlights.

Under the hood, Ghibli buyers can choose between a gasoline engine or the first-ever diesel for a Maserati vehicle. Both engines are 3.0-liter, but we expect the gasoline version to be the performance choice with about 400 horsepower on tap, while the diesel offers better economy. Maserati has not yet announced whether both engine choices will be offered in the U.S., or if it will only sell the gasoline version here.

Regardless of engine, the Ghibli has an 8-speed automatic transmission and is available with either rear-wheel drive or Maserati's new Q4 all-wheel-drive system.

While Maserati has not yet provided details like pricing information and an on-sale date for the upcoming Ghibli, we know it will be more affordable than the Quattroporte, which costs about $130,000. In fact, the automaker says that it would like the Ghibli to be a key contributor to total annual sales of 50,000 vehicles. The new sedan will need to be considerably less expensive than the Quattroporte to become a volume seller.

The debut of the Maserati Ghibli at the Shanghai auto show is just the first step for this new luxury sports sedan. We'll share updates as they become available and as the Ghibli makes its transition from show car to production model.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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